Fad Gadget: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fad Gadget
Birth name Francis John Tovey
Born 8 September 1956(1956-09-08)
Origin Leeds, England
Died 3 April 2002 (aged 45)
Genres Industrial
New Wave
Dark Wave
Years active 1979–1993
Labels Mute
Associated acts Frank Tovey and The Pyros
Website http://www.fadgadget.co.uk/

Fad Gadget is the stage name of Francis John (Frank) Tovey (8 September 1956 – 3 April 2002). An influential British avant-garde electronic musician and vocalist, he was an exponent of both New Wave and early industrial music.



Tovey studied performance art at Leeds Metropolitan University. He signed as Fad Gadget to Daniel Miller's Mute Records, which was soon home to similar but more commercial synthpop act Depeche Mode. He was the first artist to sign to Mute[1] , and was managed in the early 1980s by Alan Pride.

As Fad Gadget, his music was characterized by a distinctive use of synthesizers in conjunction with sounds of found objects, including drills and electric razors. His bleak, sarcastic, and darkly humorous lyrics, often layered in meaning and discussing subjects such as machinery, building construction, human sexuality, and physical violence, were sung in a droning monotone voice.

Fad Gadget was known for his confrontational live performances, which included Tovey covering himself in tar and feathers, leaping into the audience, and playing instruments with his head. Tovey was particularly infamous for spreading his naked body in shaving cream onstage, an image of which is depicted on the cover of The Best of Fad Gadget. Sounds magazine described him as "...the bumbling but talented Dr Who of electro-pop".[2]

He recorded several LPs of more experimental work under the name Frank Tovey, beginning with Easy Listening for the Hard of Hearing, a collaboration with Boyd Rice recorded in 1981.[1] His child can be heard on some songs, and "Love Parasite" is about a baby.

In 1989, he changed musical tactics in his criticism of industrialization, recording a mostly acoustic album of protest and labor songs Tyranny and the Hired Hand including such standards as "Sixteen Tons." He then tried his hand at writing similar material, recorded two more albums with a backing band named The Pyros.[1] In 1992 he produced Sitting On A Cornflake album "Goodbye, good luck" on Atina Records AT CD 30-02

After touring in 1993, Tovey withdrew from the music business until 2001, when he resurrected his old pseudonym to support his former colleagues, Depeche Mode, on their Exciter tour. He continued to perform live, and was working on a new album at the time of his death.[1]

Tovey suffered from heart problems since his childhood, and died of a heart attack on 3 April 2002 at the age of 45. He left a wife, a daughter (Morgan) and a son (Joseph).




As Fad Gadget

As Frank Tovey


As Fad Gadget

  • "Back to Nature" b/w "The Box" (1979)
  • "Ricky's Hand" b/w "Handshake" (1980)
  • "Fireside Favourite" b/w "Insectiside" (1980)
  • "Make Room" b/w "Lady Shave" (1981)
  • "Saturday Night Special" b/w "Swallow It Live" (1982)
  • "King of the Flies" (1982) - red vinyl flexi b/w a Depeche Mode song
  • "King of the Flies" b/w "Plain Clothes" (1982)
  • "Life on the Line" b/w "4M" (1982)
  • "For Whom the Bells Toll" b/w "Love Parasite" (1982)
  • "I Discover Love" b/w "Lemmings On Lovers Rock" (1983)
  • "Collapsing New People" b/w "Spoil The Child" (1983) - with Einstürzende Neubauten
  • "One Man's Meat" b/w "Sleep, Ricky's Hand" (1984)
  • "Fireside Favourite 2001" (2001)
  • "Collapsing New People 2003" (2003)

As Mkultra

  • "Immobilise" (1986)

As Frank Tovey

  • "Luxury" (1985)
  • "Luddite Joe" (1986)
  • "Bridge St. Shuffle" (1988)
  • "Sam Hall" (1989)
  • "The Liberty Tree" (1991)
  • "All That Is Mine" (1992)


  1. ^ a b c d Strauss, Neil (2002-04-15). "Frank Tovey, 46, Industrial-Music Innovator". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A01EED6133CF936A25757C0A9649C8B63. Retrieved 2008-05-15.  
  2. ^ George Gimarc (2005). Punk Diary: 1970-1982: p.343

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